Actor and civil servant Kal Penn cooked his heart out on MasterChef Celebrity Showdown, making tacos from scratch and taking a tong in the eye, to win money for charity. The Designated Survivor star went up against actress Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) for the chance to win $25,000 for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA USA).
With his primetime TV appearance and choice of charity, the star who played iconic stoner Kumar in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle brought much-needed attention to the hardships of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Penn shared why he chose the charity in comments posted on Twitter.
Only in America can a guy make tacos on FOX TV, almost lose an eye, & win 25,000 to support refugees. We are so fortunate as Americans to live in a country as prosperous as ours. Especially during the Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa holidays, & in hopes that the New Year will bring peace and prosperity around the world, I thought it was important to choose an organization that directly helps those facing impossible hardships, especially refugees. Much of our own media attention is focused away from the human stories of children and families who are suffering due to displacement against the rule of international law, terrorism, & violence from so many sides. So having the chance to cook to benefit refugee families in MasterChef seemed like the right thing to do.In the last week, at the United Nations, & in Washington, DC, Secretary Kerry & Ambassador Power called on the international community, including Americans, to come together to raise money & help ensure that compensation & other needs of Palestinian refugees are met. As Secretary Kerry outlined, 1.3 million people out of Gaza’s population of 2 million are in need of daily assistance. I’m honored to have the chance to cook on behalf of UNRWAUSA’s refugee aid program & join folks in hoping for a peaceful & prosperous 2017 for everyone. Happy New Year!
The full episode of the showdown episode with Kal Penn and other celebrities is currently available to view online at the Fox website. Watch a clip of the moment when Penn’s competitor Cheryl Hines accidentally poked him in the eye with tongs.
After attention from a medic, Penn went on to make beer-marinated fish tacos, winning a $25K prize to benefit Palestinian refugees in need and bring attention to the work of UNRWA. One might say he showed his mettle in the kitchen after taking a piece of metal to the eye.
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